Kenyan parliamentary committee call for reforms to electoral body

By Humphrey Malalo

NAIROBI (Reuters) – A committee set up by the Kenyan parliament has called for reforms to the country’s electoral body and a review of tax policy, public spending and social security, a copy of their report seen by Reuters on Sunday shows.

The bipartisan committee formed to study opposition grievances wants the electoral commission reconstituted and an audit of the last presidential election.

Kenya was gripped by violent protests early this year triggered by complaints by opposition leaders and supporters about electoral malpractices, the high cost of living and rising taxes.

As a result, the committee was formed in August with the backing of a parliamentary resolution and was mandated to study the grievances and propose necessary policy reforms to the government.

In its report, the committee recommended the “restructuring and reconstitution” of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the country’s electoral body.

“The committee recommended the appointment of a panel of experts who would evaluate the 2022 electoral process and a mechanism for evaluating future elections.”

The report was published on Saturday, a parliamentary official told Reuters.

The government, the committee said in the report, should also review its tax policy, rationalise public expenditure and expand the reach of social protection.

Incumbent President William Ruto was elected last August on a platform of helping Kenya’s working poor, but critics say he has instead implemented tax policies that worsen the plight of ordinary Kenyans already struggling to afford basic commodities.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who lost to Ruto in the election, rejected the results of the ballot and says his victory was stolen. He has been demanding a review of the election and other broad reforms including reconstitution the IEBC to make it more independent.

In its report, the committee also recommended “establishment and entrenchment of the office of the prime minister in

the constitution as a means of improving governance and

coordination of functions of the executive arm of government”.

In a post on X on Sunday, Kenya State House spokesperson Hussein Mohamed said Ruto was committed to implementing the committee’s proposals.

(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Elias Biryabarema; editing by Giles Elgood)